Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.'s Death

August 09 2015

Today, Center for Policing Equity President and Co-founder Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff released the following statement on the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, Jr., who died in Ferguson, Missouri, last year:

"A year after the tragic death of Michael Brown, Jr., and following the most tumultuous year of racial conflict with law enforcement in recent memory, one truth remains glaringly obvious: this nation's race problem is not going away on its own.

With every life cut short, Americans are reminded that the U.S. is still a drastically different place to live depending on the color of one's skin or their gender--even 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law and nearly 150 years after the Civil War. If this country hopes to solve this problem, we're going to need to bring the full genius of American innovation and American values to bear on it. And we need to do it now.

Examining today's landscape of racial justice progress with police, CPE is inspired by the work of forward-thinking law enforcement and youth-led activists. But we are also mindful of how very far we have left to go. That's why it is so important that America has a road map to get us from the loss, anger, and pain of today to a tomorrow that reflects our values, demonstrates our character, and honors the lives of our children. The National Justice Database will be this kind of roadmap. We are excited about our evidence-based partnerships with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, many of the Major Cities Chiefs, and those who are helping us to create it, the nation's first standardized national database of police behavior. And we're encouraged by the number of people who understand how important these kinds of projects are to the fate of our still unfinished democracy.

As we pause today to remember the life of Michael Brown, and to acknowledge his family who continue to pursue justice on his behalf, we also look with guarded optimism at the possibilities that lie ahead. It will take much more than stirring speeches and passionate calls to action, but if we continue to work together and to hold one another accountable, we can move forward on our journey to realizing justice in this country."